As far as Kay's recording career is concerned, aside from her stint with Goodman, the musical associations of Penton, a Caucasian, were nearly all African-American, including, besides Dameron, Teddy Wilson, Fats Navarro and Miles Davis. To say that this was highly unusual for those especially racially troubled times (circa 1945 - 1955) is an understatement of the first degree. It simply was not done! There might have been some other exceptions with other white, female singers, but certainly not to this extent. It is also curious that Penton was among the very first pactees Capitol Records signed when it was founded in 1942, and slated to originally be known as Victory Records. But if she ever recorded for the label, I have not been able unearth any sides. (The singer did eventually make some sides with a Tadd Dameron and Miles Davis for the label in 1949.)
Nothing about Penton, under her stage moniker, shows up in the SSI death index, nor does any obit appear in any U.S. newspaper under that name. Nor are there any photos of her on the internet. If Penton is still alive, she would probably be in her late eighties. I gotta confess, this one really has me stumped.
To the best of my knowledge, here is is Penton’s complete discography. Consisting of 19 recorded sides and two film Soundies.
There's No Ceiling on Love w/ Guy Lombardo duet w/ Billy Leach Decca
People Will Say We're in Love w/ Guy Lombarda dueit w/ Billy Leach
Hip Hip Hooray w/ Henry Nemo, Soundie (1943)
What Good is Love Soundie (1943)
June is Bustin’ Out All Over w/ Benny Goodman, Columbia (1945)
Ain’t Misbehavin’ w/ Benny Goodman, Columbia (1945)
Yesterdays V Disc 720A (1947)
That Someone Must Be You, w/ Fats Navarro Savoy (1947)
Gone with the Wind w/ Fats Navarro, Savoy (1947)
I Think I'll Go Away Kay, w/ Tadd Dameron, V-Disc 794 (1947)
Don't Mention Love to Me w/ Tadd Dameron, V-Disc 794 (1947)
As Time Goes By w/ Teddy Wilson Musicraft 580 1947
Isn't it Romantic / Teddy Wilson, Musicraft (1947)
These Foolish Things w/ Teddy Wilson, Musicraft 1947
Something I Dreamed Last Night w/ Teddy Wilson, Musicraft (1947)
That Someone Must Be You w/ Fats Navarro, Savoy (1947)
Gone With the Wind w/ Fats Navarro, Savoy (1947)
What's New - w/ Tadd Dameron, Miles Davis, 4/21/49
Heaven's Doors are Open Wide w/ Tadd Dameron, Capitol (1949)
Plaything b/w Why (not Penton) Dana 100 (1950)
A New Town is a Blue Town - Mercury 70379 (1954)
I Was Meant for You - Mercury 70379 (1954)
Why Don’t You Be Good - Mercury 70418 (1954)
That’s You My Love - Mercury 70418 (1954)
Every Man Needs a Gal in His Corner / Hot Rod Heaven - Samson 888 (1955)
Was she any good? I think so. Very! But why don't you be the judge?
Update 11/29: Here's a link to Penton's Isn't it Romantic w/Teddy Wilson (Thanks, Daniel)
Any other links out there?
Have unearthed a bit more info about Penton.
She was born in New Orleans in 1924 and began singing publicly at the age of five. There are a couple of articles in the New Orleans Times Picayune (4/15/40 & 3/4/42). I have not been able to access the articles, but only references to them in an archive index). Her first gig as a band singer was with Guy Lombardo (Louis Armstrong's favorite big band. . .seriously) in 1943, and by 1944 she already had her own Friday night radio show on CBS. One article about her at this time deemed her the "prettiest girl in radio" (radio. . .did it really matter?) and stated that three movie studios were courting her for a screen test. There is, however, no info on the net that these ever came to pass. In 1947, in Miami, FL, she married "textile magnate" Lou Bolton; the marriage, though, was annulled less than a month later. Somewhere along the way, she also dated John Hertz, the ex-spouse of Myrna Loy. Yes! John Hertz of the Rent-a-Car operation. Factor in her relationship with Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo (see above) along with this romantic factoid and you have to admit the gal really got around.
Has anyone who was so high profile for so many years ever fallen so far below radar? Thirty years old. . .over and out. There's still not even a single photo of her on the internet. I now know that if she were alive today, she'd be 87.